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Waitākere Ranges Heritage Area

View from the Waitakere Ranges to the dam

How does the Waitākere Ranges Heritage Area Act affect you, as a resident?

We’re incredibly lucky to have the Waitākere Ranges – 27,720 hectares of wilderness and native forest – in close proximity to our largest city.

But this proximity means the area has been subjected to urban development, pollution, pest animals and intense recreational use – and these pressures threaten to undermine the Waitākere Ranges’ unique natural heritage and biodiversity.

The Waitākere Ranges Heritage Area Act 2008 was enacted to protect the ranges from these pressures. The legislation aims to safeguard and restore the area’s heritage features.

What does ‘heritage area’ actually mean?

A heritage area is a place of outstanding value to humanity, which must be protected for present and future generations.

The Waitākere Ranges has exceptional national significance, particularly because of its beautiful landscape and high-value ecosystems. These are fragile and can be damaged significantly over time without sufficient work on restoration.

What does this mean for me?

Living in a heritage area is different to living in most urban or even rural areas. There are some restrictions around what may be done in the area, as it’s important to ensure our presence doesn’t destroy the very treasures that make this area so significant for us all.

As a resident, the Waitākere Ranges Heritage Area Act:
  • Shapes how and where you’re able to build houses
  • Places a responsibility on you to protect the area’s heritage and biodiversity

Controlling weeds and pest animals is one of the most important ways you can protect our natural heritage. In addition, you can take care when clearing vegetation and aim to be a responsible pet owner.

Any development, subdivision or landscaping work you carry out needs to be of an appropriate character, scale and intensity. The work can’t have a negative effect on any of the area’s heritage features, which include:
  • The identity and character of the coastal villages
  • The harmony, beauty and coherence of the low-density residential and urban areas
  • The opportunities the area provides for wilderness experiences, recreation and relaxation
  • The Waitākere Ranges Regional Park and its importance as an accessible public place with significant natural, historical, cultural and recreational resources

For a full list of the area’s heritage features, see section 7.2 of the Waitākere Ranges Heritage Area Act.